Higher education and tertiary policy

The department engages with the higher education sector on policy, programs and initiatives and administers legislation for NSW public universities.

Higher education sector in NSW

New South Wales has 10 public universities with campuses in over 25 locations and 58 private and not-for-profit providers. The department plays a critical role in administering the legislative responsibilities of the state's public universities as well as ensuring ongoing engagement with the NSW Vice Chancellor's Committee, other states, territories and the Commonwealth on policy and implementation issues.

NSW Higher Education Strategy (2021-2025)

The NSW Higher Education Strategy will guide NSW Government engagement with the higher education sector over the next five years. The NSW Government will partner with universities and higher education providers to address social, economic and environmental challenges, both locally and globally.

The Strategy will drive outcomes across five key priority areas. These are:

  • Developing and broadening post school options to foster lifelong learning
  • Ensuring wider participation in higher education
  • Driving job growth, skills and innovation
  • Strengthening collaborations to bolster research outcomes
  • Reinvigorating and diversifying international education and engagement
The Strategy can be found here.

Tertiary pathways project

The department in conjunction with the NSW Department of Industry and NSW Skills Board developed a number of innovative pathway models from vocational education and training to higher education.

The pathways project goes beyond traditional credit transfer arrangements to promote an integrated pathway approach that provides students with options to progress to higher learning and gain meaningful workforce qualifications.

The program piloted three broad models:

  • higher apprenticeships and traineeships
  • degree apprenticeships and traineeships
  • tertiary pathways.

Learn more about the tertiary pathways project.

Regional transition to university project

Research indicates a growing opportunity gap between high-ATAR achieving students in regional and metropolitan areas transitioning to university, despite the availability of regional universities. The trend is evident in both government and non-government schools among students who achieve ATARs of 75 and above.

The department worked with the National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education at Curtin University to investigate how and why these students are making decisions about post-school options and identify ways to address the opportunity gap. Researchers spoke with over 500 students, parents, teachers and principals in 19 schools across regional NSW. The highlights of the research report can be found here. (PDF 221.39KB)

To receive a copy of the full report please contact the Higher Education and Tertiary Policy Directorate at higher.education@det.nsw.edu.au

Regional Transitions to University Grant

Research shows that high-achieving regional students are more likely to take a gap year than their metropolitan peers, but they also need support and information during this important time.

The NSW Department of Education has made a grant of $550,000 available to a group of universities to deliver information that will help regional students, their families and their teachers navigate the transition to university and the ‘gap year’. The resources are suitable for both students still in Year 11 and 12 and those already on their gap year. There is also information tailored to teachers, parents and carers.

The group is led by the University of Sydney, in partnership with the University of Wollongong, the University of Canberra and the Country Education Foundation. The grant was awarded to the consortia following a competitive grants process, which began with a call for applications in late 2018.

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